Category Archives: Life

Memories

Recently, I’ve had the opportunity to reconnect with a number of long-time friends, remote family members and acquaintances from way back. It’s been so much fun catching up! But something became very evident during the many conversations that took place.

Not everyone remembers like I do.

It was even kind of embarrassing in some cases; bringing up something funny from the past and laughing my guts out only to see that the other person had no idea what I was talking about.

Events that are burned into my memory from thirty, forty, and even fifty years ago have been forgotten by the people who were there with me. How is it that I can see these things happening like it was yesterday, and others have no recollection at all? I don’t get it. Or maybe I do.

Honestly, it’s not that I was born with an amazing memory – I simply purposed from a very early age to remember. It was a conscious effort, even as a young child. I don’t know why I deemed it so important, because I certainly wouldn’t have understood the implications of that decision. I just knew I needed to do it.

I recall telling myself, “Remember this day, remember this conversation, remember how you felt when it happened.”

I do remember. And I still say it to my kids and grandchildren. Because I want them to remember, too.

Now if only I could remember where I put my car keys . . .

 

 

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Encourage Your Husband

I read this article here, and thought it worthy of a repost.

8 Ways to Encourage Your Husband

1. Pray for him. Take time out every day to pray for your husband. You can even ask him if there’s anything he wants you to pray about, and let him know that you’re praying. There’s nothing more encouraging than knowing that someone is praying you through a situation.

2. Point out his qualities. A man’s qualities run deeper than the surface work that we see. Whether he has had a productive day or he’s kicking back and relaxing, he possesses certain qualities that make him unique. Some of Michael’s qualities are that he’s a giving person. He’s a good listener. He’s hungry for the Word of God. He’s a man of grace. He’s sensitive. etc. Encourage your husband by affirming his character.

3. Tell him that he’s doing a great job. Let him know that you appreciate what he does for the family.

4. Don’t take his gifts of love for granted. If he does things around the house, thank him. My husband has thanked me for cleaning up every time I do, which means that he’s probably thanked me about  8,670 times. Yes, he thanks me daily. *smile*

5. Listen to him. Take time to listen to him about his day and hear what he’s saying. Sometimes Michael will say to me, “I’m sorry to unload on you, but there’s no one else I can talk to about this…” That makes me wonder how many men out there feel the same way. Do they have someone they can talk to about work issues? Hopefully you will be there to listen and encourage.

6. Share his burden. Offer to help him out when he’s having a busy week. Is there anything you can do to pitch in? Maybe take on a chore you don’t normally do? If so he might appreciate the help and the company.

7. Don’t be the nag who rains on his parade–be the smile that brightens his day. If women didn’t have a tendency to nag like we do, the Bible wouldn’t reference it as often as it does. Unfortunately it can become a bad habit if we don’t learn to control our tongue. Joy on the other hand is encouraging and contagious. Work on keeping a positive attitude not only for yourself, but for the good of your family.

8. Don’t expect him to be your savior. Your husband isn’t Jesus, therefore he isn’t perfect, he can’t read your mind, he will disappoint you at times, and he doesn’t have the patience of Job. He’s simply a man growing in grace and learning to lead. Praise God for the husband you have, imperfections and all.

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What is Normal?

I looked up the word normal in the dictionary and this is what I found.

Normal: conforming to the standard or the common type; usual; not abnormal; regular; natural.

It other words, normal is anything that’s not abnormal. And that definition didn’t help me at all.

Because sometimes I yearn for normal without even really knowing that that is. Maybe a week without a crisis of some kind. Or a day where the phone doesn’t ring. Or an hour of uninterrupted reading time.

Nope. Doesn’t happen.

I’ve concluded there is no such thing as normal. Our lives are what they are, and the idea of normal is often just a fanciful imagination. Really, what fun would it be if we actually got what we thought we wanted from a normal life? Not much. And we’d be bored out of our trees. Dullards, perhaps.

Know what a dullard is? A dull-witted person, according to Webster’s.

The lack of normal in my life is what makes it interesting. Enjoyable. A learning experience. A roller coaster of highs and lows and everything in between. No possibility of becoming a dullard.

The lack of normal has become my normal.

And a kinda like it that way.

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When Kids Rule the Roost

Yesterday, we accompanied an inspector to our new home and embarked upon a four-hour look-in-every-nook-and-cranny investigation to ensure the building is sound and that everything works the way it’s supposed to work. The house passed with flying colors and we are happy.

Although it felt kind of weird to be snooping around in a home that another family still occupies, we were respectful of their space as we did what needed to be done while trying to imagine what it would look like with our own stuff there. I took lots of pictures. And now I have six weeks to think about it.

But it is interesting what you can glean about a family’s priorities and lifestyle by spending a few hours in their home. Here’s what I observed:

1. This family has four large flat-screen TVs, each connected to its own DVD player and to the satellite dish outside. Okay, so they like to watch TV in nearly every room of the house.

2. Someone has a large Hardy Boys book collection, which they obviously still read. There was one on the edge of the bathtub.

3. They are techie geeks like me – 3 running computers in the office.

4. They don’t like to cook. The pantry was full of easy-to-prepare packaged stuff. Plus, the oven was pretty clean – a tell-tale sign.

5. They have a cat, as evidenced by two scratching posts. The cat also likes to perch on the TOP of the kitchen cabinets. I would have never thought of that until I noticed some stray cat hairs hanging over the edge up there. Dear Husband got up on the counter to look and confirmed my suspicions. Paw prints. Ew. Not a cat lover. Nope, not at all.

There are more details I could share, but the one that drew my attention immediately was how this couple’s three-year-old son rules the roost.

I don’t think I’ve ever seen a home that is as kid-proofed as this one. Child safety locks on every single cupboard, closet door and cabinet. Rubber bumper glued around edge of the hearth on the stone fireplace (not sure how we’re going to get that off). All electrical outlets were covered. Nothing at all breakable within reach of little hands. All good things, in and of themselves. But collectively, it would appear that the child might be having the run of the house with minimal parental guidance.

This little boy is also not lacking for playthings in any way. Nearly every room had a multitude of toys – we detected a strong Sesame Street theme – and almost the entire basement was a dedicated play space. We had to pick our way through the toys strewn over 1,000 square feet of floor. What can one kid possibly do with all that stuff?

Call me judgmental if you want. I’m just telling like I see it.

That child is ruling the roost.

I have no doubt that these parents love their son. They are showering him with every imaginable toy, convenience, and safety measure. But along with all of that, I really, really hope they are teaching him responsibility (yes, a three-year-old can learn), respect for his things and the property of others, and that he won’t get everything he wants. I hope his parents are teaching him how to properly respond to their instruction, to obey them when they speak, and to honor those in authority.

Above all, I pray that these parents are teaching their child to love the Lord. I didn’t see any indication that this was a Christian home, but I pray that if the parents are not following Jesus, they will connect with people who are. Soon.

Parenting is hard. I know this, believe me. We raised four children – all adults now – and the parenting hasn’t stopped. I imagine it never will. Our constant reliance on God and His Word has seen us through the bumps and valleys and dry places, and He has been there with us in the midst of joy and celebrations and laughter.

I don’t know how parents can do it without Him.

“Train up a child in the way he should go, And when he is old he will not depart from it.” Proverbs 22:6 (NKJV)

 

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SOLD!

This sign appeared on our front lawn today. Although the house has been officially sold for almost a week now, it takes a while for the message to filter through the various channels.

But now the fun begins. And as my mother just advised, “make sure you know where things are packed!” She moved a couple of months ago and is still looking for some things. I have taken her advice to heart.

Despite the upcoming purging and junking and selling and boxing, we are thrilled. We have purchased a beautiful home in a small community about 45 minutes from where we currently live, and it is the beginning of a long-time dream of ours to leave the big city. Our new home is on the side of a mountain with a breathtaking view of the valley and city below. I am already looking forward to warm summer evenings, sitting out on the deck with my diet Coke and enjoying the gorgeous scenery.

Will I miss the house we’ve sold? Absolutely. We’ve been here twelve years, longer than I’ve lived anywhere in my whole life. There are memories of graduations, weddings,  grandchildren, family gatherings, Bible studies, backyard barbecues, Christmases, and more. I am tucking those away in my mental photo album so they are never gone for good. And there will be new ones to add in the coming years.

We’re so excited about this new adventure God is taking us on! It’s more than just selling an old house and buying a new one. It’s establishing a whole new life.

Just proves that you’re never too old to reinvent yourself.

 

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Before You Speak . . .

I come from a long line of talkers. And when you’re a talker, it doesn’t take much to blurt out the first thing that comes to your mind. The oops comes later when you realize you should have filtered your thoughts a little more before you opened your mouth. Even worse is having no idea you’ve hurt or offended someone else by your careless words.

I say this from experience. And I’ve had to learn some lessons the hard way.

I had a revelation many years ago that has stuck with me, as revelations are intended to do. I make a point to keep it handy.

You do not have the right to speak whatever comes into your mind.

You don’t have the right to say words that destroy others. You don’t have the right to say words that are hurtful and damaging. You don’t have the right to say words that cause strife and dissension.

Words are living things. They have power. And once you’ve said them out loud you can never take them back. They are out there forever. FOREVER. You are the gatekeeper of your words. You have the choice as to which ones you allow to come out of your mouth.

It is so important to THINK before you speak. I saw this acronym years ago:

T – is it TRUE?

H – is it HELPFUL?

I – is it INSPIRING?

N – is it NECESSARY?

K – is it KIND?

If what you have to say isn’t any of those of things, perhaps the words shouldn’t be spoken at all.

“Rash language cuts and maims, but there is healing in the words of the wise.” Proverbs 12:18 (The Message)

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Crazy Week

It’s been a crazy week.

Although I am not wearing a straight jacket like my feline friend in the graphic above, there have been moments since Monday morning when I seriously considered it. I’ve had emotions all over the map. And if you know me, you will understand that this is not necessarily a good thing. I am pretty sure my husband was very thankful that he had to be out of town on business this week so he didn’t have to deal with my over-the-top elation, my all-day crying spell, and everything in between.

He’s home and I’m okay now.

But I learned something through this week’s roller-coaster ride. It’s always good when that happens, right? The learning, not the roller-coaster.

There are wonderfully happy times that come along, bringing such incredible excitement and anticipation that you can hardly stand it. There are desperately disappointing times when you don’t understand why things have to be that way. There are times of joy when you can do nothing else but thank God for His unbelievable blessings. There are frustrating times when everything you do seems to go wrong and you just want to give up. There are beautiful calming times when everything is right with the world.

This is life.

And it happens to everyone. No one is exempt.

But you have a choice as to how you deal with your crazy week. You can let it drive you into straight jacket territory. Or you can release it all to the Father and let Him be God. He’s pretty good at it, you know.

The crazy part of my week ended on Wednesday night when I finally let go of my stubborn I-can-do-it-myself attitude and told the Lord that I was sorry for excluding Him in the turmoil. I asked Him to take the junk that I was so fiercely clinging to and dispose of it. Permanently. I never want to see it again.

Then I went to bed and slept soundly for the first time in days. Maybe weeks.

No straight jacket required.

Our awesome God is there through it all, even when we don’t let Him in. He wants to bear our burdens. He said He would, and He meant it.

I’m so glad.

“Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time, casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you.” 1 Peter 5:6-7 (NKJV)

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Back at My Desk

I am back at my desk.

It’s been a very crazy few weeks and I had neither the time or the inclination to write a blog post. After preparing our house for the real estate market and getting it listed, we were literally bombarded with potential buyers. We had thirteen showings in ten days. That’s pretty darn good, we’re told. But as good as it sounds, it meant we had to be on top of the house cleaning all the time. And not just a little dusting here and there – we had to have it in spotless, show-home condition.

My poor husband!

I’d freak out over a spot on the bathroom water faucet or a speck of dust on the coffee table or a dirty knife left in the sink. I have to say, he was very patient with me and we are still married.

The good news is that we accepted an offer on our house on Monday. Once the conditions are removed next week, it will be purging and packing time. I’m not looking forward to going through twelve years of accumulation, but I know I’ll be glad I did when it’s all done.

Oh yeah. One more thing.

We have to find a new home!

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Moving Right Along

Well, we stalled long enough and finally got our house ready for the market. The paperwork was signed on the weekend. We have our first showing today.

We have been talking about doing this for the past seven or eight months, but it seemed like one thing after another got in the way of any action on our part. Stuff like reopening my bookstore for the Christmas season. The closing of the coffee shop that I managed. Our kids moving. My mother moving. After all of the packing and unpacking of boxes we dealt with for those events, we just didn’t feel like dealing with any more right away.

So we piddled around for a while and then gave ourselves a rather aggressive deadline by calling our Realtors and telling them we’d be ready in a week. Them being my sister and brother-in-law. Talk about incentive to get ‘er done! It was a wild week. There was purging, packing, cleaning, and lots of aching muscles at the end of the day, but we finished. And now I’ve decreed that no one shall so much as breathe in this house until there is a sold sign on the front lawn.

What next?

We’re leaving the big city at last and moving an hour’s drive away to a much smaller community where life takes a little bit slower pace. We’ll still be close to family, which is good, and to “civilization”, which is also good, and close to our church, which is very good.

Bring it on!

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Distracted Christians

It’s Monday. The day after Sunday. Which was the day Christians everywhere vowed with one hundred percent sincerity like they do every Sunday, that this week would be different. That Jesus would be front and centre 24/7. That they would read their Bibles and pray. That they would not be distracted by life.

How long do you think that vow lasted?

For most, it was already out of their minds by the time they reached the church foyer after the service. Some may have gone home remembering their mental commitment. Until they woke up this morning and rushed off into the week. The odd one – very odd – actually took the time to sit down and do what they promised themselves they would do. To spend time with God.

The majority of us allow ourselves to be trapped by distractions. So much so that by the time next Sunday comes along, we face the cold realization that we haven’t even opened our Bibles since last Sunday’s service.

There are a million excuses, and I’ve used a good many of them myself. But the bottom line is this: the devil, the enemy of our souls, will do anything – ANYTHING – to distract us from walking closer with Jesus. We’re no threat to Satan as long as we put the latest episode of Hawaii Five-O ahead of prayer time. Same with the messy house you noticed the moment you decide to open your Bible. Or that phone call you just remembered you just have to make. Or the quick peek at your latest Facebook notification? Not that there is anything wrong with these things but recognize them for what they are at that moment.

Distractions.

Then you can deal with them. Make a decision. Say no. Put your Jesus time first.

He makes the difference.

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